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CEA Teachers of the Year 2008.

The Colorado Chapter and Region IX CEA would like to extend sincere congratulations to each of the nine Teachers of the Year recipients. Each has earned this honor through exceptional work and contributions to their respective facilities.

Teaching in the correctional setting offers challenges well beyond the traditional classroom. In addition to the flexibility, adaptability, and persistence needed by any teacher, a correctional educator must also be willing to fulfill job duties well beyond the scope of the traditional classroom. Through all of this, the correctional educator must maintain a rapport with his or her students that allows students to learn and grow as individuals and to return to society with hope for the future.

Region I--Herve Pelland

Region II--Linda Audet

Region III--Kristin Guthrie

Region IV--Randy Feldsien

Region V--Ilona Jones

Region VI--Ellen Sheffield

Region VII--Lisa Moore

Region VIII--Cynthia Corkern, PhD.

Region IX--Karen Leffler


Region 1 Teacher of the Year

Herve Pelland

Herve has been a teacher for the Massachusetts's Department of Corrections (DOC) in a number of teaching capacities since 1993. Initially he was a Barber Instructor and now is a CDL (Commercial Driver's License) teacher at two facilities and a Computer Technology Instructor at another. His is always willing to try new methodologies and programs, and he freely offers his assistance to other programs.

During this time, Herve was also an instructor for the Army Reserve and was able to provide some of that training to staff at the MA DOC Training Academy. Herve returned to school during this time and successfully completed the course requirements and the written and practical tests in order to obtain his Massachusetts's Vocational Teacher license.


"My philosophy has been that of giving back to the community through teaching, more specifically, passing on my life experiences so that others might benefit from the knowledge I have gained. It gives me pleasure to watch an inmate enter my classroom, starting with nothing, acquiring knowledge and by the end have a greater understanding of the subject matter and be a more confident, competent person for it. Additionally, I believe that inmates learn best when they work to help others in the class. I try to create an environment in which the students feel comfortable helping and being helped by others."

Herve Pelland


Region 2 Teacher of the Year

Linda Audet

Linda Audet has taught Literacy, Adult Basic Education, GED, cognitive skills, and life skills for the Virginia Department of Correctional Education since 1991. She has worked in a variety of correctional settings including a field unit and several community corrections' residential and non-residential programs.

Currently she is a Transition Specialist, serving several programs in the Fredericksburg, VA, area, and she is the Lead Teacher for DCE's Community Corrections division. She has recently completed work on new life skills curricula and transcripts for Virginia's community corrections programs. Linda works with community partners, as well as other state agencies, to better serve the students in her programs both in-house and in the community.

She recently chaired a committee that presented an employment seminar attended by over 200 offenders. Additionally she conducts a weekly book-study group for female ex-offenders in a half-way house. She has recently earned a M.Ed. from the University of Mary Washington in Educational Leadership.

During the completion of this degree, she conducted research on "How Evidence-Based Practices Have Impacted Correctional Education in Virginia." She enjoys traveling in Europe with her husband, Ron, when the opportunity arises. Her hobbies include reading, knitting and digital photography.


Region 3 Teacher of the Year

Kristin Guthrie

Kristin Guthrie graduated in 1989 from Ohio State University with a BS in Agriculture Education. She completed an M.Ed. in Education in Teaching and Learning from Nova Southeastern University in December, 2002. She believes that a good teacher, who is there for the right reasons, can teach any subject or any age from school age learners to adult learners.

Kristin currently teaches Adult Career Technical Education in the field of Horticulture classes at the North Central Correctional Institution in Marion, Ohio. This position has been the most rewarding of all her years as a teacher. She introduces students to another way of life in which they can choose to make a good living, become productive citizens in society, become responsible parents, and break the cycle.

She has been married for 19 years to husband Doug, and they have three children: a daughter Kelly, 15, and sons Austin, 12, and Luke, 10. The kids show dairy feeders, horse, and breeding sheep at the county fair, Ohio State Fair, and International Livestock Shows. When they're not working with the animals, they can be found at Lake Erie on their 30 ft. boat, fishing, tubing, or just relaxing as a family.


We, as teachers, need to recognize our strengths and weaknesses in ourselves, our students, peers and supervisors. As teachers, we continue to grow. If teaching is not in your heart, then make a change in your job or profession. We are educators and we need to lead by example with moral standards, ethical behavior, and expectations. The students will rise to the occasion to meet the expectations, so never settle for less. I also believe we are not here to judge, but to teach and to hold students accountable. I learn right along with my students because we are all human beings and we all learn from each other. We need to be able to be a positive influence in our students and peers' lives.


Region 4 Teacher of the Year

Randy Feldsien

Randy Feldsien graduated from the University of Minnesota--Duluth with a B.A. in Criminology and Psychology. He started his career in corrections in April of 1994 as a Corrections Officer at the Minnesota Correctional Facility for adult women in Shakopee. During his six and a half years as an officer he worked many different positions, provided training to staff, served on many committees, helped develop the incident Management System curriculum for the Minnesota Department of Corrections Academy, was Shakopee's Affirmative Action Officer, did a caseworker internship, and worked out of class as a teacher.

Working out of class as a teacher inspired him to pursue his education in teaching. He obtained his Masters Degree in Teaching from the University of Wisconsin--River Falls. He was hired as a teacher at Hubert H. Humphrey Job Corp. and after 5 months returned to the Minnesota Correctional Facility--Shakopee as a Special Teacher in February of 2001. With his security background it made for an easy transition into the prison classroom.

At Shakopee he teaches GED classes and has developed a Math class for students who have their GED or diploma, but need to improve their skills for vocational or college programs. Besides teaching, he continues to be involved in extra activities at Shakopee.

Some of these activities include the Shakopee's Critical Incident Stress Management Team, the staff Mentor Program for new employees, the local union president at Shakopee representing teachers, and the K-12 Continuing Education Committee for the Minnesota Department of Corrections. He is also currently the President- Elect for the Minnesota CEA chapter. Lastly, Randy's corrections claim to fame is that he apprehended an offender escaping from the Shakopee facility.


Region 5 Teacher of the Year

Ilona Jones

Ms. Jones came to corrections eight years ago following a dignified thirty-year public school career where she taught elementary school, language and employment skills to at-risk high school students, as well as HIV prevention and related subjects in Sequoyah and Adair counties.

Currently, Ilona teaches ABE and GED at the Jess Dunn Correctional Center in Taft, Oklahoma. She attended Northeastern Oklahoma State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma and has a BS degree in Education and a MA in Education with a Reading Specialist certificate. Ms. Jones is the proud mother of three sons: Eric, her oldest, a full-time member of the Oklahoma National Guard who recently served a tour in Iraq and now teaches ROTC at a local college. Ryan, a full-time musician in the Oklahoma City area, and the late Tracey Jones. She also has five wonderful grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

She is a past member of OEA, having held various offices at the local and state level, a past member of the National Reading Association, has worked with Special Olympics, and was a volunteer for Oklahoma AIM, a group that monitors the treatment of mentally challenged individuals in Oklahoma. Ms. Jones is a current and active member of CEA.

Ms. Jones relates, "The first report I remember writing was what I wanted to be when I grew up, and that was a teacher. I've loved teaching children and am currently enjoying teaching adults at Jess Dunn. Joy comes from learning, no matter the age." Region V CEA and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections are very proud of Ms. Jones and her accomplishments in corrections.


Region 6 Teacher of the Year

Ellen Sheffield

Ellen Sheffield works at Oregon's Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario, Oregon. Snake River Correctional Institution is a multi-custody facility for adult males. She teaches in the general population at the minimum and medium facilities and in the special housing units.

At the minimum facility, Ms. Sheffield has a classroom of disparate learner levels which include learners at the ABE level learning a second or third language, as well as learners who are at the GED level.

Ms. Sheffield organizes the scope and sequence of the learning as well as oversees possible discipline issues, but is indebted to the inmate tutors who help with the delivery of the services. Within the special housing units, Ms.

Sheffield goes door to door to deliver education services to those inmates serving their time in segregation. The students there range in subject area from ESL through GED.

In 2007 and 2008 Ms. Sheffield piloted a year long reading project for low-level readers. She learned the fundamentals of teaching reading at a multi-session workshop sponsored by the Oregon Dept. of Community College and Workforce Development. Ellen was then utilized by Oregon's Workforce Development to implement a reading program at Snake River Correctional Institution using the methods she learned. The increased learners' scores as result of the program were promising; she is continuing the program in an altered format in her multilevel classroom.

Ellen loves working in adult education. She is delighted to be part of adults' lives when they decide to turn their brains back on to learning, expand their knowledge, and complete the requirements for recognized certification. Success in this renewed interest in learning takes a lot of effort on the learners' part, and Ellen is very glad to be involved in that process. She suspects that the learners' success does not need to stop at the GED completion, but could become a lifelong pattern leading to greater successes. She loves to be part of that opportunity.


Region 7 Teacher of the Year

Lisa Moore

Lisa has been an employee of the CDCR for just over 20 years, seven of which have been at the California State Prison Solano as a Vocational OSRT Instructor. She is the proud mother of two children, a Certified Professional Instructor for the Microsoft Certifications, and a member of the Outreach and Technical Assistance Network Mentoring Academy.

Developing and using technology within education is her passion. One of her first accomplishments was to implement inmate/student use computers and Smart Boards in the academic and vocational classes to ensure the high level of instruction included the most current technology.

She lists one of her proudest accomplishments as the development of a partnership with the Division of Addiction and Recovery Services to procure a computer literacy lab. The lab will be offered to vocational students to ensure their computer literacy skills are as advanced as their Career and Technical Education skills. The rewards come from the inmate/students' dedication to their improvement and watching their successes. She hopes to become an integral part of the implementation of AB900 by continuing to develop technology within Education.


Region 8 Teacher of the Year

Cynthia Corkern, Ph.D.

Dr. Corkern is a classroom teacher at the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond, Mississippi. Encouraging affirmations and a positive classroom climate conducive for learning have been keys used to inspire young men in her care to achieve their GED. Regardless of their backgrounds or crime(s), Dr. Corkern has developed a program where students rise above their negative environments and poor self-esteem to improve their academic and social skills.

Dr. Corkern's program at Hinds County Detention Center involves several components. Among these are: using positive daily affirmations, assessing students' academic skills, developing individualized educational prescriptions, addressing the importance of social skills, independent living and job skills, utilizing a computer lab, and reading books together on daily basis. The program is designed to enhance the well being of each student by stressing the value of each individual regardless of the circumstances that led to their incarceration. Students learn to believe they have value, that they can learn, and they are therefore, more motivated to participate in learning activities. The key factors are that students learn to say good things about themselves and overcome negative feelings about school, teachers, and themselves. Positive words enable students to be aware of the power of words and the choices they make as well as the consequences. Through the assessments of skills, Dr. Corkern develops an individual prescription for each student emphasizing reading and math skills; students then work in the computer lab to develop these skills. Additional activities are incorporated to enhance self image and independent living and job skills to prepare the students for positive community learning experiences.


Region 9 Teacher of the Year

Karen Leffler

Karen graduated from University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science in Special Education and Reading. Her career began in a rural community in Nebraska where she had to establish a program at the middle school and high school level that met the needs of all students in the area with a wide range of disabilities.

In 1987 her family moved to Colorado Springs where she worked with Special Needs students in Harrison School Dist. 2. The emphasis in education at that time was to reintegrate this population to their neighborhood schools. In this capacity, she created several new classroom environments at Turman Elementary School, Carmel Middle School, Sierra High School and finally at Harrison High School. 200l was the beginning of a brand new career with the Department of Corrections in Colorado. She was given the opportunity to teach in the PRO (Progressive Reintegration Opportunity) Program at Colorado State Penitentiary. She also taught the Impact of Crime on Victims class at Four Mile Correctional Facility and filled in for the G.E.D. teacher at Arrowhead Correctional Facility on a part time basis for about 2 years. In 2003 the PRO Program transitioned to Centennial Correctional Facility where she currently works.

Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
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Title Annotation:Correctional Education Association
Publication:Journal of Correctional Education
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2008
Previous Article:Radical conversations: Part One social-constructivist methods in the ABE classroom.
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